Book Review: Lost For Words by Stephanie Butland
Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look closely, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are things she'll never show you.
Fifteen years ago Loveday lost all she knew and loved in one unspeakable night. Now, she finds refuge in the unique little York bookshop where she works.
Everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past. Someone is trying to send her a message. And she can't hide any longer.
Lost for Words is a compelling, irresistible and heart-rending novel, with the emotional intensity of The Shock of the Fall and all the charm of The Little Paris Bookshop and 84 Charing Cross Road.
Published by Bonnier Zaffre 20th April 2017 (UK)
The second I spotted this book, I was in love and snapped it up at the first opportunity. I mean, the cover is just gorgeous for a start. But set in a book shop? A quirky character with an emotional story to tell? Yes Please! This book couldn't sound more up my street if it tried.
And oh, how I absolutely loved it. I haven't read anything by Stephanie Butland before, so her beautifully encompassing writing was new to me. I was completely drawn in from the beginning, loosing track of what was going on around me and completely involved in Loveday's story. Seriously, I can't remember the last time I cared for a fictional character as much as I did this one.
Loveday is prickly, introverted and prefers books to people. I related quite a bit with her if I'm honest. However, there's a darker side to this story which is revealed in one of three timelines alternating throughout (and each one cleverly distinguished with book genres) that allows the reader to understand why Loveday is the way she is now. The whole story, both present and past, is written so sincerely, it was impossible not to form an attachment to Loveday. By the end I felt I knew her inside out, she truly did get under my skin.
Lost For Words is Loveday's story, but it's supported by a cast of equally quirky and endearing characters. Archie, bookshop owner and boss is fantastic with his larger than life personality and outrageous stories. Yet you know that beneath the pompousness and grandeur, he has a kind, wise heart with a hidden perceptiveness. Nathan provides a romantic interest, yet this burgeoning relationship is tastefully written, sweet and tender. It's integral to the story without overshadowing it, and again something I completely got behind as a reader.
The bookshop setting is an absolutely perfect refuge for Loveday and book lovers the world over will love the quotes and nods to literature that litter the pages effortlessly. I love the way books are used by Loveday for protection, as she hides away and isolates herself but also the vehicle to her moving on and reconnecting with people again. Lost For Words is a journey, as Loveday faces her past and begins to look to the future. It's about a lost and lonely soul recognising that family and belonging can come in different forms and learning to like and accept herself again. Because Loveday is likable - she's real, she's flawed and she completely deserves a happy ending. Will she get it? Well, you'll just have to read it to find out. Lost For words is a gorgeous book. It made me laugh and cry, it's both heartbreaking and heartwarming, and it's sad yet filled with hope. And I guarantee you will fall in love with Loveday Cardew too.
(I read a proof copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine Program)